It's hard to believe that Rich has already been home 1 month and 1 day. This past month has flown by. Nothing like how some weeks could drag on for what felt like a month when he was deployed. But we're here and we're adjusting to life with each other again. Life is good.
They (military booklets) warned about "romanticizing homecoming" and how and it's easy to build it up in your head how perfect it's going to be, but be prepared for things to be hard. I struggled with keeping the balance in my head. I wondered a lot how Ariana would react. Would she only want me since she's only had me for the past 6 months. Would she only want him, since she hadn't had him for 6 months? Plus, how would we reconnect as a couple? We were used to a lot of alone time. Six months is a long time.
I was worried with little things like how the towels needed to be fresh out of the dryer and what to make for dinner that first night. Just so you know, the towels had been used once and for dinner I made spaghetti with meatballs and salad. He didn't care that there were some dirty clothes in the hamper, or that I chose a simple meal that is one of our family favorites. Paired with a bottle of red wine and some much needed family talk and it was perfect in our own way. And that's how it's suppose to be. It may not be perfect like you imagine it, but it will be perfect for your family. Because life is imperfectly perfect.
For the most part our adjustment has gone smoothly. After the first few days of waking up to each other and Ariana realizing that Daddy is actually home for good and not a dream, things settled down. We took her to preschool, made meal plans together, he went to briefings, life got back to "normal".
Then we went on our vacation to Edelweiss. It was so nice. To have time together. To not worry about what to make for dinner (we could just go down to the buffet), to swim all afternoon if we wanted, and to go on adventures and walks and just focus on each other and having a good time. It was just what we needed to reconnect on a basic level without the distractions of normal life getting in the way.
And in regards to Ariana, she didn't want to let Daddy out of her sight those first few weeks. She was thrilled to have him back to play ponies and babies with her, sit by her at dinner, show off all the things she's learned while he was gone, and read stories with him at night. She's still worried that he's going to leave again, and she's not happy with it, but we're working on it. Such is the life of a military family. We can't promise her he's never going to leave again.
I think part of me romanticized his homecoming, I mean how could I not when that's all you've thought about for 180+ days. Another part of me feels like we were living in a honeymoon phase. It was easy not to get annoyed at each other because it all felt so new again. He didn't mind that I squeezed the toothpaste in the middle, because he missed sharing our bathroom with me. The fact that he leaves his clutter all over the kitchen table when he comes home is nice because part of me is happy to see his clutter again.Those little things that sometimes annoy each other, were now creating smiles. I can happily say it's been an easy adjustment, mostly.
But really, it's taken almost whole month to adjust completely. Our routine had changed a lot while he was gone and we had to figure out to adjust it to fit a family of 3 again. It's much nicer this way though. We usually read in bed before sleep and just looking over and seeing him there makes me smile. It's easy to take advantage of the little things and deployments remind us just how special those little moments are and to enjoy them.
I hope I can hold onto the magic of these little moments.
And for those of you who are lucky enough to not having to adjust after deployments, I hope you can find the magic in those little moments too.